A new issue, whose thematic approaches a subject related to the Royal Dynasty of Romania under the general title “Royal Founders. Events”, will be introduced into circulation on Thursday, October 12, this year. The images of the four postage stamps reproduce the overall architecture of the buildings erected in Sinaia, namely, Peleș Castle (face value of Lei 14), Pelișor Castle (face value of Lei 1.60), Foișor Castle (face value of Lei 4.70), to which is added the Royal Palace in Bucharest (face value of Lei 10). The graphic composition is completed by details found on the medals of the era that reproduce the busts of the founding kings and the mentioned buildings, in the overall architectural presentation, visible nowadays.
The first presence of King Carol I in Sinaia was recorded on August 5th-6th, 1866, when he was hosted in the Sinaia Monastery’s cells, a foundation of the spătar Mihail Cantacuzino in 1695.
Keeping the nostalgia for the alpine landscapes of his native country, Carol I returned to Sinaia in 1870, taking care of the refurbishment of the monastery’s cells, which from 1871 became a summer holiday place for his family.
Conquered by the spirit of faith that dominated the area and by the outstanding beauty of the landscape, Carol I summoned the Viennese architect Wilhelm von Doderer to Sinaia on August 22nd, 1872, with the firm decision to build the summer residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty here. A committee was immediately formed to organise and coordinate all the activities to gather all the materials needed to build the new castle.
It should be noted that, except for the marble, almost all building materials were sourced from nearby areas.
The construction site, which began in the autumn of 1873, was the area used to prepare the perimeter where the foundation was to be poured. The displacement of some rocks, the drainage of the existing springs, the works, required for the construction of the enclosure of the future building, were completed only in 1875, when, on August 10th/22nd, the foundation stone of what we know as Peleș Castle was laid.
Carried out with an interruption caused by the state of war (War of Independence), the works continued until 140 years ago (October 7th, 1883), when the official inauguration of Peleș Castle took place.
Peleș Castle, a royal residence, a unique presence in the architectural heritage of Europe, was transformed and enlarged on the initiative and under the control of King Carol I until 1914. Electricity, telephony, modern central heating technology, elevator, were a dowry of modern equipment of the time, at the highest level.
Peleș Castle was the place where Romania’s neutrality was decided at the Crown Council of August 3rd, 1914, a decision maintained during the first two years of the World War I, and the place where King Michael and Queen Mother Helen spent their last days on Romanian soil, in January 1948, before going into a long exile imposed by the communists.
The specially arranged spaces at the Sinaia Monastery for the Royal Family holidays, used practically until the inauguration of Peleș Castle, more than 10 years, were organized as the first religious museum in Romania. Peleș Castle, together with Sinaia Monastery, is in fact the birth certificate of Sinaia, which became after 1900 the “Pearl of the Carpathians”.
In 1893, the building, also called the “The Forester’s House”, was extended, refurbished and modernized to become the residence of the Crown Princes Ferdinand and Marie. They will live here until 1903, when they will move to Pelișor Castle.
The refurbishments and transformations will give the “The Forester’s House” a new look that will bear the name of Foișor Castle.
A violent fire, in 1932, completely destroyed the building. Carol II, a frequent visitor to Foișor Castle, immediately ordered its reconstruction. Completely abandoning the old concept, the King ordered the reconstruction in a modern manner, according to a project by the architect Arthur Lorenz, carried out by the enterprise of the engineer Emil Prager, under the supervision of the architect Ion Ernest.
Pelișor Castle was built between 1899 and 1903, and was intended as the future summer residence of the princely couple, Ferdinand and Marie. The Czech architect Karel Liman respected the requirements of the commissioner, King Carol I, but added Romanian elements to the exterior architecture, like the towers of the Bukovina churches, covered with coloured sandstone roofing tiles.
As for the castle interiors, Liman, at the request of Princess Marie, used many Romanian elements. The Queen’s apartment and the Golden Room were decorated to her taste.
The castle holds a valuable collection of decorative art, paintings, and a manuscript in silver covers, inside parchment pages, with verses and watercolours painted by Marie, given to Ferdinand in 1906. To these are added several of Marie’s watercolours depicting lilies.
King Ferdinand I passed into eternity at Pelișor Castle on July 20th, 1927 and Queen Marie on July 18th, 1938.
Among all Royal buildings, the Palace in Bucharest was the official residence of the Romanian kings, remarkable not only for its impressive dimensions, but also for its architectural style, designed to give the luxury and grandeur specific to a reception palace.
Prior to this construction, the Golescu house, which became state property, was modified to become the residence of the ruler, and after 1859 it was the residence of Alexandru Ioan Cuza. Settled here on his arrival in Romania on May 10th, 1866, Carol I lived here until 1885.
The architect Paul Gottereau is approached for the design of a palace arrangement, in 1884, which results in the extension of the existing building, an impressive building by the architectural style and the beauty of the interior decorations.
But the Royal Palace will be forever linked to the name of King Carol II, whose 130th birthday will be celebrated. He rebuilt it from the ground up after a devastating fire (1926), ordering the construction of a larger palace, completely different from that of his predecessor.
The reconstruction works, which lasted 14 years, were carried out under the supervision of the architect of the Royal House of Romania, Karel Liman, and the chief architect of the Palace, Arthur Lorenz, until September 1940. The building is now the National Art Museum of Romania.
Romfilatelia thanks the manager Narcis-Dorin Ion and the documentation team of the Peleș National Museum for the support provided for the development of this postage stamps issue.